When our kids were little, the highlight of our summer holidays was to head up to camp at the back of Lake Benmore. There was no cell coverage, no electricity and very little in the way of home comforts, but everyone loved being there, and the great feeling of freedom that came with being so remote.
Accessing this wilderness experience involved a harrowing drive on the rough farm track that ran all the way down the side of the lake. The landscape was pure rock, with not a skerrick of green to be seen. Precipitous cliffs lurked on the edges of hairpin bends. One small misjudgment at the wheel could see you jettisoned into the deep blue lake below.
Getting in and out was such a drama that if, for any reason, you had left anything behind, you just had to do without it.
One year, I forgot the salt. You can cook without a lot of things but salt is not one of them. I had sixteen people to feed and three wild turkeys to barbecue, and brining was the only means I knew to render my birds tender and juicy. Without any salt, my dinner plans and, actually, our whole holiday was scuppered. My husband, seeing my distress, disappeared with the look of a man on a mission. About half an hour later he reappeared with an axe under one arm and a big hunk of pink crystal in the other hand.
“Salt lick,” he said, handing it over to me. It looked exactly the same as the tiny crystal of expensive Himalayan salt I had purchased in Paris a few months earlier. In fact it was. I had forked out seven euros for less than 50g of this pretty pink salt crystal, and it turned out that we were buying the exact same thing for the farm for $180 a ton – including delivery!
I got a hammer and started breaking down my giant crystal. It took a while but finally I had a jar of rock salt that I could use. The turkeys came out beautifully, and with salt in hand, the rest of our holiday dining was also rendered delicious.
Keeping a kit of flavours and pantry fixings stashed with your camping gear means you won’t get caught out without the essentials – be they salt, matches or tongs. Portable fare like these no-cook salads and bbq patties makes for carefree summer dining. Make a sweet slice before you leave home and you’ve got dessert covered too. No cutlery or plates required!